So, honestly, for every few people out there who make you feel that the potential for human kindness is limitless there is an asshole…placed there to balance out the system.
I have been a bit on a high about how thoughtful and kind people can be when given the chance. For this reason I have been big on opening my heart to strangers. I meet lovely people everywhere this way…Esmé opens this door for me by being so stinking cute and curiously flexible.
But last night I had an experience that reminded me that some people are just jerks…or rather I’d like to think sometimes you catch a kind person in a moment of assholery. Now, don’t get your hopes up, this isn’t a particularly jaw dropping story of someone being an asshole. It is a quick story of someone being a bit of a jerk. I think, though, that is kind of my point, but lets see.
Tonight we had dinner out with half of my parents and my in-laws. We chose our restaurant because a local place was donating 10% of the tab to the local Epilepsy Foundation if you bring in a printed coupon. The restaurant is one of those fun kind of places. Loud music, dancing servers, indoor picnic bench-ish seating, silly tee-shirts…social patrons.
We happened to have printed out two coupons. So, in hopes of helping raise some extra money for the foundation, I scoped out the biggest tables. Al the table has to do is put the coupon with their check at the end of the night…thats it. One of them was near us and a woman at the table had smiled and said some nice words to me when I was walking Ezzy around the restaurant. So, bingo, right?
With Ez in my arms I go over and ask, “Sorry to interrupt, but are you here for the Epilepsy foundation fundraiser?” The nice woman says, “Excuse me, I can’t hear you” and the man next to her, closer to me mumbles something. Its loud in there, so I lean in and repeat myself. He mumbles; she says “no.” I say quickly “My daughter has epilepsy. We’re raising money tonight. 10% of your bill will go to the foundation if you put this coupon in with the check.”
Her to him: “Did you even listen to what she said?”
Him, clearly, to me this time, “I don’t give a shit; I’m trying to eat here.”
His wife (or whatever she was) reached out a grabbed the coupon. I said “thanks,” and avoided looking at them the rest of the night.
I mean, sure, maybe I was annoying. I guess I interrupted…but to say six inches from my daughters face that he doesn’t care enough to pause, smile, put a fucking coupon in with his tab, and laugh at what a weirdo I was later? Christ.
Maybe he was a bit drunk. Maybe he had a shit day. Maybe he went home and felt like a jerk all night.
And maybe I really wanted to key his car and pull the “1/29/13 End of an Error” bumper sticker off his car….but I didn’t. (I have a three strikes policy for that kind of thing…and once you make an exception the whole world goes to shit.)
Anyway, like I said, his behavior wasn’t totally awful. I’ve dismissed people before who were requesting small kindnesses. We all have. But I guess what I’m getting at here is that little reminder to pause rather than dismiss other people so quickly…I genuinely thought that table would have felt good to help out at no cost to themselves…and maybe on a different day he would have been thrilled, spent a bit extra on dessert, and felt good about himself the next day.
Or, maybe he’s just an asshole.